People, Places and Things ( Glencoe, Fort William & Isle of Sky)
So the " Three Sisters" is one of the most famous mountain ranges in Scotland and you drive right by it on the way to Glencoe. There are several places to pull out and take pictures and most days you will find a bag piper playing too. He waits for someone to throw a coin into his instrument case and then he will play a tune or pose for a picture. While waiting for someone to come along and take our picture with him we started a conversation with the piper. He said he comes to that spot every day. He said other pipers have come and played but they don't last too long and eventually they go away. When it rains too hard he waits in his car for the weather to get better. Proudly he let us know that his family has been playing pipes in the exact spot for three generations. He used to come in the sixties when he was a young boy and watch his Dad play and his grandfather before him. Can't be an easy way to make ends meet!
Another adventure that occured was a trip to the grocery store. I could write a whole blog on how different it was than a grocery store in the states. Robyn was taking pictures of some unusual produce, when she caught the attention of one Kathleen McConnell ( or something like that) who looked a lot like this.
Now it was unclear to us that she was actually shopping, I think the market was her "social network" and Robyn photographing produce made us a clear target. What ensued was a wide ranging conversation that covered the entire history of shopping for groceries in Scotland. Here is a shortened version.
" Well ya know in the beginning the womenfolk shopped every two days, walked to town and visit all the different shops to make a meal and came back with two bags of groceries. You would visit your friends along the way and in the shops. When they built the big market in town they said it would make your life easier because everything you needed would be in one place. It would have a big parking lot so people could travel from farther away and park a car there. People starting buying cars because you could pay a car off in two years which wasn't so bad and the Darlings ( husbands) got tired of going to market so often. Now that people had cars and didn't have to shop so much they realized they could travel a bit, maybe go on vacation. The Scottish government changed the laws so you could charge people to stay in your home and all of a sudden everyone turned their house into a "Bed and Breakfast". Soon that wasn't good enough, you had to remodel your house to have a private bathroom off the bedroom so you could advertise your B&B as being "En Suite". Than you start seeing signs that advertise " with Wifi". Now what is this wiffy anyway? Well it means these teenagers can sit at home and poke at their phones and order eveything on Amazon and not even come to the market. So when I come to the market I keep an eye out for folks like you that might need a little visit."
I shook her hand and we thanked her for the conversation and she continued down the aisle with her grocery cart full of recycled cardboard.
No we didn't ride the Hogwart's Express, but we did take the train it was based on over the bridge in the picture above. It is a real steam train that makes a two hour trip from Fort William to Mallaig. We travelled first class to get the full effect, including a service of tea on the way over. We sat across from a german couple and had a long conversation that covered everything from making your own wedding dress to gun control ( maybe we are more like the woman in the grocerie store than we want to admit!).
With that I will let the pictures do the talking from here, images from Glencoe and the Isle of Sky. Had some cloudy days and some clear days, but the scenerie was breath taking in all cases.